This post originally appeared on the Project Syndicate website.
Gender is often an ignored factor during health emergencies—even though women comprise 70% of the global healthcare workforce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective policy responses will be those that account for how the crisis is experienced by women and girls.
When pandemics strike, world leaders and health responders must adapt quickly to the looming threat. Often the last factor they consider—if it makes their to-do lists at all—is gender.
As advocates for the health and rights of girls and women, we’ve heard the excuses time and time again: “Gender isn’t a priority right now,” leaders say. “Maybe when things calm down,” they claim. “It’s not the right time,” they insist.
If we are to pursue the most effective responses to COVID-19—or any health…